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google trends

Google Reveals South Korea’s Top Searches of 2014

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

It’s that time of year again. As 2014 draws to a close, Google has compiled a list of this year’s most searched topics in the world as well as individual countries. Here are some of South Korea’s most popular searches made in 2014.


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Topping the list of most searched names is former Olympic skater Kim Yuna. Many K-pop and Hallyu stars made their appearances on the list as well, including HyunA (No. 2), Hyosung of the girl group Secret (No. 4), IU (No. 6), rock icon Shin Hae Chul (No. 8), EXO (No. 9) and model and actress Clara (No. 10). Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Ryu Hyun Jin and the late owner of the sunken Sewol Ferry, Yoo Byung Eun, were also featured, ranking in third and fifth places, respectively.


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In 2014, Snowpiercer was the most googled movie in South Korea, followed by The Attorney and the epic blockbuster The Admiral Roaring Currents. This is no surprise as all three films broke box office records and quickly became some of the country’s highest-grossing films of all time.

Other Korean films that made the cut include Kundo: Age of the Rampant (No. 5), revenge noir The Divine Move (No. 6), spy-action film The Suspect (No. 7) and the scandalous romantic thriller Scarlet Innocence (No. 10). Hollywood films About Time (No. 4), Begin Again (No. 8) and Lucy (No. 9) were also featured on the list.

You can view all of South Korea’s top trending searches of 2014 here


Kim Yuna Named Honorary Ambassador for the 2018 Winter Games


Former Olympic figure skater Kim Yuna was named an honorary ambassador for the 2018 Winter Olympics held in Pyeongchang, the first South Korean host of the quadrennial competition.


Kim, 24, became South Korea’s first Olympic figure skating gold medalist at the 2010 Vancouver Games and ended her decorated career after winning silver at Sochi earlier this year. Often called “Queen Yuna” by her fans, Kim is South Korea’s most popular sporting figure and has appeared in numerous commercials. Her current net worth is estimated to be $21 million.

According to Yonhap, Kim was one of the key figures who helped Pyeongchang win the bid for the 2018 Games by giving an impressive presentation at the International Olympic Committee session in Durban, South Africa in 2011.

“As a former winter sports athlete and a South Korean citizen, I am very pleased to be able to contribute to the organizing of the Winter Games in my country,” Kim said in a statement on Tuesday. “I worked with the bidding committee three years ago, and I still vividly remember the moment Pyeongchang won the bid. I look forward to an exciting venture with the organizing committee going forward.”

Cho Yang-ho, head of Pyeongchang’s Winter Games organizing committee, said that the committee has high expectations of Kim and believes her new position as honorary ambassador will ensure South Korea’s first Winter Olympics to be a success.

“As an athlete, Kim dominated her sport with confidence and audacity,” Cho said. “I hope her international experience can translate into her activities as our honorary ambassador, and she will be the face of Pyeongchang in international events promoting the Olympics.”

Preparations for the 2018 Winter Olympics are underway, including the construction on six of the 13 competition venues.

Kim currently holds the world record for the highest ladies’ free skate score (150.06 points) and combined total score (228.56). She had set each world record three times and never finished a competition off the podium throughout her entire career.


Photo courtesy of Queen Yuna/Flickr


Friday's Link Attack: John Cho, Joy Osmanski, Yuna Kim

Kal Penn and John Cho on Tonight Show with Jay Leno
channel APA

Actors John Cho & Kal Penn landed on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno to promote their upcoming film “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas“. They start off chatting about their connections with President Obama from working at the White House to being invited there. The duo also talk about their very first press tour and the similarities to their Harold & Kumar characters. Watch a special clip from their movie.

Glendale man arrested on suspicion of stealing Korean Americans’ IDs
Los Angeles Times

A 49-year-old Glendale man has been arrested on suspicion of stealing the personal information, including Social Security numbers, of more than 90 Korean-Americans, police said.

Dong Ho Han, who is being held in lieu of $4.6-million bail, was arrested early Wednesday on suspicion of identity theft, possessing a forged driver’s license or identification card and possessing pills without a prescription, according to Glendale police reports.

“There is no indication of what he was going to do with them,” Financial Crimes Sgt. Harley Wing told the Glendale News-Press.

Police stopped Han about 2:30 a.m. at Los Olivos Lane and Moore Street for a traffic equipment violation when they discovered he was on probation for forgery in Santa Barbara County, Wing said.

During a search of Han’s car, police found dates of birth and Social Security numbers for more than 90 Koreans, he said.

Police also found prescription pills, including Oxycontin and Methadone, three or four signed blank checks and four passports in his name, but with different dates of birth, Wing said. Han also had $3,200 in cash, Wing added.

Illinois Fugitive Hyungkyu Choi
Chicago Tribune

On Sept. 28, 2011, a father told Naperville police that his 13-year-old daughter had been sexually abused by her martial arts instructor, Hyungkyu Choi.

Five days earlier, about 2 a.m., the girl told her dad, Choi drove her to one of the YK Martial Arts Studio locations in Naperville, and sexually abused her there.

A doctor interviewed and examined the minor that day, and the minor disclosed to him that she had a relationship with Choi over several months and they had sexual contact twice between July and September.

Choi was 26, twice the alleged victim’s age.

After meeting with police on Oct. 1, Choi fled the country for South Korea on Oct. 6.

joy osmanski’s in the new animated fox show allen gregory

Heads up. Our friend, actress Joy Osmanski, stars in the next FOX animated series Allen Gregory, which premieres this Sunday, October 30 as part of the network’s animation block (right after The Simpsons). Joy supplies the voice of Julie DeLongpre, Allen Gregory’s sister.

SKorea: Singer, judge discuss race prejudice
Asian Correspondent

A top star and a judge, both middle-aged, have joined hands in Korea and America to overcome the difficulties of being mixed-race. They have spent over 50 years of life in different places but when they meet their faces seem both similar and different. 54-year-old singer In Soon-yi, the child of a Korean mother and a black American father who was serving in the Korean war, and 56-year old Judy Draper, a Korean-American judge, met at a restaurant in Bangbae-dong, Seoul, on the 20th. Their meeting was arranged after the Ministry of Foreign affairs and Trade (외교통상부) brought Draper to Korea on the 17th after she became a well-known Korean-American after being made a circuit judge in St. Louis, Missouri. Judge Draper, who brought her multicultural son with her, came to know In Soon-yi when she learned were both doing similar work at the Pearl S. Buck Foundation Korea (한국펄벅재단) and requested that the Ministry arrange a meeting.

A spokesperson for In Soon-yi said that “as soon as in Soon-yi met Judge Draper they embraced… As mixed-race Koreans they each overcame discrimination and never gave up, working to be treated fairly, and each was touched by that.”


Seoul, US cautiously move on 6-party talks
Korea Times

South Korean officials Wednesday remained mum on high-level talks between North Korea and the United States on how to resume nuclear disarmament negotiations but said the communist state had shown seriousness in a recent flurry of diplomacy.

A Seoul official said the government was waiting for a full briefing from Washington before making any comment. But he added on condition of anonymity that in two rounds of contact between the Koreas, running in conjunction with the U.S.-North talks, Pyongyang had been “quite serious.”

The cautious approach echoed that of U.S officials, who after the two-day session in Geneva earlier this week, said talks had been positive, while stamping down hope for an imminent breakthrough. Stephen Bosworth said the sides had narrowed differences on resuming six-party talks but did not elaborate on areas of progress.

Korean Skating Champ Yuna Kim Collaborates on Ceramics Line
ABC News

Figure skater and Olympic champion Yuna Kim is launching her own ceramic collection, “YUNA,” in collaboration with a Korean ceramic company.

“I wanted to do something with my career that could spread awareness of Korean culture,” said Kim at the YUNA showcase at Shinsegae department store on Thursday. “And I chose the most Korean brand.”

She referred to the porcelain manufacturer Kwangjuyo. The upscale, traditional, handmade pottery-maker is known for its drive to develop and introduce Korean food globally.

Faculty Spotlight: Born in Korea, Educated in America, Now Teaching In Singapore
Tisch Arts blog

Assistant Arts Professor at Dramatic Writing Department
New York University Tisch School of the Arts Asia

Raised in: Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea

Courses I teach: Grad Screenwriting I, Thesis Screenwriting I & II, Screenwriting Lab, Collaborative Film for 2nd Year Writing Students & 3rd Year Film Students, Feature Writing for 3rd Year Film Students.

Educated in: New York (BFA NYU Tisch Film & Television 2000; MFA NYU Tisch Dramatic Writing Department 2002), Los Angeles (MFA American Film Institute Screenwriting 2003)

Proudest Professional Moment: The Red Snow, a screenplay that I wrote while at Tisch Dramatic Writing Department, won 2003 Hartley-Merrill Award that was announced at Cannes Film Festival; The Chaser, a Korean film, that I co-wrote became a hit in South Korea in 2008 and is expected to be remade by Warner Bros., starring Leonardo DiCaprio; Sayonara Itsuka, a Japanese language film, that I wrote became the highest grossing Korean film in Japan in 2010.

I’m Now Working On: A love story set in New York City to be produced by Terence Chang (Tisch alum; producer of Face/Off, Red Cliff, Hard Boiled); A US-Korea co-production project that deals with the rumored to be true story about a Korean soldier who had a fling with Marilyn Monroe in 1954; A suspense thriller set in Singapore to be produced in 2012; An action blockbuster film set in four Asian countries to be produced in 2012-2013.

’21 and Over’ begins shooting in China

The young adult comedy co-starring Justin Chon began filming in China.

Miles Teller (“Footloose”), Justin Chon (“The Twilight Saga”), Skylar Astin (“Taking Woodstock”) and Sarah Wright (“The House Bunny”) star in the pic, which follows two childhood friends who drag their straight-arrow buddy out to celebrate his 21st birthday the night before an important medical school interview, in an evening of debauchery that spirals out of control. But when one beer leads to another, the evening spirals into a wild misadventure of debauchery that none of them will ever forget.


Tuesday's Link Attack: Kim Yuna, SNSD, Sasa's Scott Kim

Figure skater Kim Yu-na to sit out entire season

Figure skater Kim Yu-na said Tuesday she will sit out the entire 2010-11 season but denied she was retiring from the sport.

“I’ve decided not to enter any event this upcoming season,” Kim told reporters at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, upon returning from her training camp in Los Angeles. “After the Vancouver Olympics last year, it’s been a whirlwind of activities on top of all the preparations for competitions. I felt I needed to take a breather.”

Sasa’s Scott Kim to open pan-Asian Accent restaurant in University Circle’s Uptown project
Cleveland Plain Dealer

Its merging of Asian and Western sensibilities marks Sasa as one of Cleveland’s most imaginative restaurants. If Scott Kim’s Shaker Square izakaya, or pub, is any measure, adventurous diners should be looking forward to the chef’s next innovation.

That will come in the spring, when Accent is expected to open in the Uptown project in University Circle.

Kim saw an opportunity to present a different aspect of Eastern cuisine at Uptown.

“This will be a pan-Asian menu, and I will bring in Korean and Chinese and Japanese — and Western, American — flavors,” says Kim.

Gambler’s simple scam led casino to hand over cash
The Age (Australia)

It took a ”high-value” gambler coveted by Crown casino five minutes to create the paperwork that duped the venue into advancing him $125,000 that he hoped would recoup what he had lost at its tables.

Jung Hwan Choi blew $200,000 there last year and yesterday a Melbourne court heard how his ”inherently simplistic” scam beat the house.

The County Court was told that Choi was flown to Melbourne from Sydney in November last year in a visit organised by a casino marketing executive.

Prosecutor Amanda Ring said Choi accessed his bank account at an internet cafe to transfer from his mother’s account $1 and then copied the screen shot of the receipt’s transaction and his balance.

With the images stored on a USB device, Ms Ring said he then imported them onto a PowerPoint program from which he changed his bank balance from $12.87 to $284,000.

Choi also altered the $1 transfer receipt to reflect a transfer of $100,000 from his account to Crown.

Actress sues Amazon for revealing age on film database
AFP via Yahoo News

A US actress has lodged a $1 million lawsuit against Amazon accusing the Internet giant of revealing her age on the film industry website IMDB by using personal details from her credit card.

The actress, who asked for her identity to be masked and is referred to only as “Jane Doe,” has launched the suit for damages and interests with the Western District Court of Washington state, in northwestern Seattle.

She is alleging fraud, breach of contract and violation of her private life, as well as her consumer rights.

According to the suit, the actress, who is of Asian descent, changed her name to make it more American and has never wanted to reveal her age in order to maximize her chances of obtaining film roles.

Since 2003 her profile has been available on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), which is owned by Amazon, when she joined the site as an unknown actress.

Outrage in China over shocking video of toddler left to die on road
Toronto Star

A grisly video of a Chinese toddler run over by a van has sparked outrage and disbelief in Chinese media.

Closed-circuit camera footage posted on YouTube and Youku, a Chinese video-sharing site, shows that the 2-year-old, identified by the China Daily newspaper as Yueyue, was left writhing in a street as roughly a dozen pedestrians, cyclists and motorists passed by inside a wholesale market in Foshan, a city in China’s southern Guangdong province.

The passers-by all also ignored the girl’s bloody body.

A rickshaw driver, a motorcyclist and even a woman hand-in-hand with a young child noticed the toddler, but neglected to stop. The girl was run over a second time by a light-duty truck.


Vietnamese woman cuts off Taiwan husband’s penis
AFP via Yahoo News

A woman cut off her husband’s penis with a pair of scissors and threw the severed member into a river in revenge for his affair with another woman and his physical abuse, police in Taiwan said Sunday.

The 30-year-old Vietnamese woman, identified only by her surname, Pan, cut off about half her husband’s penis at their home in the southern city of Tainan after he took drugs and sleeping pills and fell asleep, police said.

The woman allegedly claimed she had thrown the severed member of her drug-addicted Taiwanese husband into a river before turning herself in.

SNSD [Girls’ Generation] – “The Boys” MV (English version)

[UPDATE: The English version has been disabled for the United States for unknown reasons. My guess is that they want to unveil it later to coincide with aslkdasasaslkdfjasdjf. Who cares. –Ed.]

Guest List Released For White House State Dinner

The White House revealed the guest list for tonight’s State Dinner in honor of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

The list included the regular who’s who of Washington along with a handful of surprise guests including actor John Cho. The Star Trek thespian was the only entertainer — aside from the Ahn Trio, who are scheduled to perform — to be invited to the dinner.

Award-winning novelist Chang Rae Lee got the invite, along with fashion designer Christina Kim of Dosa, Momofuku chef David Chang and Dartmouth president Jim Yong Kim.

Other notable Korean Americans on the guest list are involved in politics in some sense and included overachieving brothers Howard and Harold Koh, Washington State Senator Paull Shin, Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang and Virginia Delegate Mark Keam.

Jai Lee Wong, the executive director of Women’s Leadership Circles in Los Angeles, was also invited.

Earlier today, the White House hosted a luncheon which was attended by actor Ken Jeong as well as Olympic figure skating gold medalist Kim Yuna.

Notable omissions for the State Dinner: Actress/comedienne Margaret Cho, former D.C. schools superintendent Michelle Rhee, actor Daniel Dae Kim and KoreAm publisher James Ryu, who was quick to point out that he was invited to the luncheon.

See the entire guest list here.


Friday's Link Attack: Roy Choi, Kim Yuna, Jeju Island

Beechwood To Shutter, W. Indian Roy Choi Concept To Come
Eater LA

Kogi taco truck founder Roy Choi was named the new head chef at chic Venice restaurant Beechwood back in June but it appears the menu changes have evolved into a complete overhaul.

Roy divulged that Beechwood will shutter indefinitely! Not only that, but Roy and [owner Dave] Reiss will introduce an entirely new eating establishment with a whole new look and new West Indian menu. Right now the new restaurant’s name is still to be determined, and the goal is to close Beechwood toward the end of October and reopen the new spot on Nov. 1.

10 Questions with Figure Skater Kim Yu-Na

South Koreans call her Queen Yu-na. At just 20 years old this TIME 100 alum is a reigning Olympic champion, an ambassador for figure skating and a national hero. After winning gold in Vancouver, she devoted herself to the city of Pyeongchang’s successful bid to host the 2018 Games. Now three sold-out ice shows later, she is heading back from Seoul to Los Angeles for more training. She talked to TIME about loving her fans, hating Mondays and becoming her mother.

Island’s Naval Base Stirs Opposition in South Korea
New York Times

Dozens of banners adorn this village on the southern coast of South Korea’s southernmost major island, trumpeting anxieties that have invaded this otherwise idyllic community and divided it so deeply that residents say some fathers and sons have stopped talking to one another.

“Fight to the death against the American imperialists’ anti-China naval base!” says one banner.

That declaration — and the underlying issue dividing this village of 1,000 fishermen and farmers on Jeju Island — mirrors the broader quandary South Korea faces, caught between the United States, its longstanding military ally, and China, its former battlefield foe but now its leading trading partner.

Baby OK after tree branch snaps

A nine-month-old boy is lucky to be alive after a large tree branch smashed into the car he was in Thursday, Aug. 18.

Sue Kim: the greatest American story never told
Northwest Asian Weekly

Before Tiger Woods, Margaret Cho, and Michelle Wie, there were the Kim Sisters.

Few Americans know the Kim Sisters, arguably one of the most talented and internationally recognized musical acts for generations, were the preeminent female act of the 1960s. Their sold-out shows rivaled those of Sammy Davis Jr., Sinatra, and later in the 70s and 80s, Elvis and John Travolta.

Now, the story of Sue Kim, the lead singer of the group, is being featured in a book and film.

North Korea Agrees to Talks Over Missing American Soldiers
New York Times

North Korea said Friday that it had agreed to talks with the United States on searching for and returning the remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War in the early 1950s and buried in the reclusive country.

Is b-boying past its pinnacle?
The Korea Herald

Amid a declining number of shows, the Korea Herald explores whether the breakdancing trend in Korea has peaked.

Interjections to use when you’re frustrated

This is an amusing educational video for those hoping to learn conversational Korean.


Tuesday's Link Attack: Yuna Kim, Kim Jong Il Senile?, NKs Love SK Soju

Helping the Prez & Yu-na Sell Pyeongchang
The Wall Street Journal

As the South Korean media and public absorbed and dissected their winning bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics, a lot of attention has fallen on the final presentation. It was broadcast live in South Korea and showed, for the first time to many Koreans, prominent people like President Lee Myung-bak and champion figure skater Kim Yu-na speaking in English.

And some Korean media attention has fallen on an American consultant named Terrence Burns, who was portrayed mainly as a speech coach to the bid committee, including Mr. Lee.

But Mr. Burns and his Atlanta-based firm, Helios Partners, provided much more than speech coaching to the Pyeongchang bid effort. They started working with the Pyeongchang bid committee in mid-2009. And for most of the time since then, Mr. Burns has been racking up the frequent-flier miles shuttling between his office and Seoul.

Is Kim Jong-il Going Gaga?
The Chosun Ilbo

Rumors that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is suffering from dementia are spreading quickly across the isolated country. Reports say the leader is increasingly incoherent during his so-called on-the-spot guidance trips.

Rumors of Kim Jong Il’s possible senility have been circulating as far back as 2006.

Ryu jumps to No. 21 in world rankings
Los Angeles Times

U.S. Women’s Open champion So Yeon Ryu jumped to No. 21 in the world rankings for women’s golf after beating fellow Korean Hee Kyung Seo in a playoff Monday.

How Korea’s Rich Spend Their Money
The Wall Street Journal

One of the major findings is that rich households splurge on education. Almost a quarter of household spending, the biggest of any spending category, is on schools, cram schools and private tutors for their children. For average households, the comparable figure is 15.3%, still the most of any spending category.

Less surprising is that real estate is the most popular investment for South Korea’s rich.

‘Mythomania': Derek Kirk Kim’s Live-Action Cartoonists [Video]
Comics Alliance

The Eisner and Harvey-winning cartoonist behind such works as Same Difference and Other Stories, The Eternal Smile (with Gene Luen Yang) and Good As Lily (with Jesse Hamm), Derek Kirk Kim is expanding his creative repertoire with a new live-action Web series. Called Mythomania and described by Kim as a “slice of life” story, the series follows aspiring cartoonist Andy Go and his peers as they draw and debate comics. Mythomania’s first season will be split into nine ~10-minute episodes, the first two of which you can watch below.

Beautiful, ugly and great Koreans [OPINION]
The Korea Times

Though they may be outnumbered by the omnipresent Chinese, I have been struck by the behavior and appearance of the Korean travelers one can’t help encountering at airports, railway and subway stations.

The members of this tribe are predominantly in their 20s and 30s. They are largely youths, couples and young families. Most seem to speak at least a smattering of French or English; some speak these languages very well indeed. Virtually all are good looking, impeccably and well-mannered: In short, these Kims, Parks and Lees are a credit to their country.

What a wonderful change they make from the Korean tourists of a decade or so ago!

The best soup you’ve never heard of
Orange County Register

Other than ethnically Korean folks, I doubt many know about sullungtang, a beef soup with a broth made from brisket, ox tail and beef bones (including cow’s feet), giving the end result its milky white consistency. Some readers may already be balking at the mention of beef feet, but if I didn’t tell you, you would happily slurp the soup up and be none the wiser.

North Koreans getting a taste for South Korean soju

The South Korean soju Chamisul became extremely popular with North Koreans for having a better flavor and scent than that made in North Korea. The report stated that “Like Chamisul, North Korean soju is 25% alcohol, but many people much prefer the scent of Chamisul… At every open market there are an unexpected number of merchants with 10 bottles or more.”

A century on, Korean-Mexicans trace their roots
Yonhap News

The Korean immigrants also had their names changed unwillingly. At the Yucatan registration office, the Korean surname Choe switched to Sanches, Ko into Conora, Kim into Kin or King, Yang into Llanes, Park into Pa or Pan and Chang into Chans.

This Korean Baby is Sleepy

South Korea's Pyeongchang To Host 2018 Winter Olympics

The third time was a charm.

The 2018 Winter Olympics was awarded to South Korea’s Pyeongchang on Wednesday in Durban, South Africa.

South Korea, which was narrowly defeated by Vancouver and Sochi, Russia in previous votes, prevailed in a landslide first-round vote over Annecy, France and Munich, Germany.

With 48 votes required for a first-round knockout, Pyeongchang received 63 of 95 votes to win by a wide margin. Munich garnered 25 votes and Annecy had just seven.

“Koreans have been waiting for 10 years to host the Winter Games,” bid leader Cho Yang-ho told The Associated Press. “Now we have finally achieved our dream.”

Pyeongchang, a city about a two hours’ drive northeast of Seoul, will be the first Asian city outside of Japan to host the Winter Games. Japan held the games in Sapporo in 1972 and Nagano in 1998.

Korean delegates erupted in cheers in the conference hall after IOC President Jacques Rogge opened a sealed envelope and read the words: “The International Olympic Committee has the honor of announcing that the 23rd Olympic Winter Games in 2018 are awarded to the city of Pyeongchang.”

Waving Korean flags and wearing bid scarves, the Pyeongchang delegates broke into chants. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak shook hands with reigning Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na, who was in tears.

“I am lost for words about now,” Kim told the AP. “I can’t say anything right now. I’m really excited. It will be very good to compete in my own country.”

President Lee, speaking entirely in English, recalled the impact on his country of hosting the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

“Now Korea wants to give back to the Olympic movement and to the world,” he said. “Pyeongchang 2018 is a national priority of the Korean government and has been so for the last 10 years. I guarantee you the full and unconditional support of the Korean government.

“We worked hard, we’ll make you proud.”

Check out the video of the announcement here and see South Korean citizens’ reaction after the jump:

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